The Colorado Avalanche wraps up its four-game set against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Wednesday. It is the final contest of the eight-game, regular-season series between the clubs and the second of a five-game road trip for the Avs.
The Avalanche (34-12-4) fought back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to defeat the Sharks 5-4 in overtime on Monday, earning its third straight win of the four consecutive contests versus San Jose. Four different players registered multi-point outings as Nazem Kadri scored the game-tying goal with 3:39 remaining in final frame and Andre Burakovsky (one goal, one assist) potted the game-winning marker in overtime. Nathan MacKinnon finished with two assists to extend his road point streak to a career-best 17 games, while netminder Philipp Grubauer picked up his third consecutive victory with a 23-save performance.
San Jose held two different two-goal leads throughout the contest but couldn't close it out as the squad was eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention with the loss, missing the postseason for the second year in a row. Evander Kane tallied two goals for the third time this campaign and Tomas Hertl (one goal, one assist) put together a multi-point effort as well. Goaltender Martin Jones stopped 26-of-31 shots in his 34th start of the season.
The Sharks will become the fifth team the Avs will have finished their eight-game series against. San Jose will join the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild as teams that the Avalanche has played all eight times this year.
Wednesday's game time was recently moved up to 7:30 p.m. MT.
Avalanche at San Jose Sharks
SAP Center | San Jose, Calif.
COLORADO-SAN JOSE CONNECTIONS
Joonas Donskoi skated for San Jose in his first four NHL seasons from 2015-2019… Goaltender Devan Dubnyk began the 2020-21 campaign with the Sharks… Cale Makar and Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro were college teammates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for two seasons from 2017-2019… Sharks forward Matt Nieto played the past four seasons for the Avs from 2017-2020… San Jose defenseman Greg Pateryn spent part of the 2020-21 season with Colorado… Sharks center Dylan Gambrell played at the University of Denver from 2015-2018… Avalanche video coach Brett Heimlich is from San Jose and spent 11 years with the Sharks organization from 2004-2015… San Jose head coach Bob Boughner finished his NHL playing career with the Avalanche from 2004-2006… Sharks NHL development coach Mike Ricci played for Colorado/Quebec from 1992-1998 and won a Stanley Cup with the Avs in 1996.
Through the first seven matchups between the squads this season, the Avalanche sports a 6-1-0 mark after sweeping the first three games of the current four-game set on Friday, Saturday and Monday. At SAP Center this year, Colorado owns a 2-1-0 record versus San Jose, as Gabriel Landeskog (three goals, four assists), Mikko Rantanen (three goals, three assists), Nazem Kadri (one goal, three assists) and Nathan MacKinnon (two goals, two assists) have been the primary contributors on the offensive end in those matchups in the Bay Area. Landeskog, Kadri and MacKinnon have each found the scoresheet in every game when visiting the Sharks this campaign, while Landeskog has tallied a goal in each of the three contests in Northern California.
The Avs hold an all-time 54-39-12 mark against San Jose and own an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 meetings. When visiting the Sharks this campaign, Colorado is averaging 3.67 goals for per game and allowing 3.33 tallies per contest.
The Avalanche held an optional practice on Tuesday, and rookie Alex Newhook was a participant after being recalled to the club on Sunday. Head coach Jared Bednar said that he doesn't have an exact date for Newhook's NHL debut, but it is likely to come at some point during the road trip. Ryan Graves returned to the lineup on Monday after missing one game with an upper-body injury. Netminder Philipp Grubauer is expected to start in between the pipes.
Devan Dubnyk was added to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list on Monday and will be out at least two weeks. Samuel Girard is out for about two weeks with a lower-body injury. Bowen Byram (upper body) and Jacob MacDonald (lower body) are all week-to-week with injuries, while Bandon Saad is out two-to-four weeks with a lower-body ailment. Matt Calvert (upper body) and Logan O'Connor (lower body) are considered out long term, with O'Connor recently having surgery. Pavel Francouz is out the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury and Erik Johnson (upper body) could return later in the playoffs.
SCOUTING THE SHARKS
The Sharks look to get their power-play unit back on track as the club has tallied just one goal on the man advantage in the last 12 games, going 1-for-33 over the stretch (3 percent). San Jose's power play ranks 29th in the NHL, converting on 14.4 percent of its opportunities. On the other hand, the team's penalty kill has been its strong suit on special teams this season and as of late, killing 16-of-18 penalties in the past five contests. On the campaign, the squad owns the 12th-best man-down unit in the league, killing 80.5 percent of its penalties.
Overall, San Jose sits in seventh place in the West Division with 46 points (20-26-6) and was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Monday after suffering its fourth-straight loss to the Avs. The Sharks are 2-6-2 over their last 10 matchups and hold a 10-11-3 mark on home ice this season.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: EVANDER KANE
Evander Kane has been on an offensive tear as of late, registering at least a point in five of the last six contests (five goals, four assists), collecting a four-point night (one goal, three assists) on April 26 and finding the back of the net twice on Monday versus the Avs. The forward leads the Sharks in goals (22), assists (23) and points (45) this season, while ranking tied for fourth in power-play points with six.
The 12-year veteran is in his fourth season with the Sharks, producing 87 goals and 75 assists in 208 games in his time in the Bay Area. His 162 points are fifth-most among San Jose skaters during that span, while his 87 markers are third on the club in that time. Against the Avs, Kane has recorded five goals and five assists in 11 games while on the Sharks, including three goals and three assists in seven game versus Colorado this season, the most points (six) on the club in the series.
The Avalanche has 65 goals in the second period this season, the third most in the middle frame in the league. The club has tallied four goals in the stanza four different times and three or more seven times.
The Avs are 29-2-3 when scoring three or more goals this season and 31-4-1 when allowing three or fewer. The club leads the NHL in goals per game (3.52), while ranking fifth in goals against per game (2.46).
MacKinnon has tallied a point in 17 consecutive road contests, a career best, and the second-longest road point streak in franchise history and best stretch since the team moved to Denver in 1995. Peter Stastny had a 23-game stretch with the Quebec Nordiques from Oct. 14, 1983 to Jan. 29, 1984. MacKinnon ranks third in the league this season with 36 points on the road. Only the Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (42) and Leon Draisaitl (37) have more.
Philipp Grubauer sports a 5-1-0 mark against the Sharks this season, tied with Marc-Andre Fleury for the most wins by a goalie versus the Sharks this year. Grubauer has won three straight contests against the club and owns a .921 save percentage, 2.01 goals-against average with three shutouts in the season series… Mikko Rantanen's 309 career points in an Avalanche sweater are now the ninth most in team history as the forward surpassed Tyson Barrie (307) for sole possession of the spot since the team moved to Denver… Ryan Graves is second in the NHL in short-handed time on ice, playing a total of 165:29 on the penalty kill thus far… Colorado has given away the puck just 304 times this season, the third-lowest in the league… The Avalanche have held its opponents to just 26.0 shots per game while on the road this campaign, which is the fewest shots allowed per contest when away from home.